Facebook is an important part of any successful marketing strategy, but you’ve got to use it properly to have a broad reach. If you’re not familiar with the term “reach” as it relates to Facebook, it refers to how many users see the content that you post. Not just like or comment on — see. Of course, businesses want their reach to be as far and wide as possible.
Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm determines your reach: which of your posts show up on followers’ newsfeeds and which don’t. This algorithm, unfortunately, is shrouded in mystery, and its intricacies are mostly unknown. However, we do know a few things about how to work the algorithm to improve reach.
Or improve organic reach, we should say, since you can certainly pay to promote posts and expand your reach that way. Many businesses find paying to increase their Facebook reach to be a worthwhile investment, as it definitely ups the number of eyes that see what you post. However, if you’re looking to keep costs down and expand your reach organically on Facebook, here are five strategies to try.
1. Make your posts visual. You probably know that the internet is a highly visual medium and that people respond more quickly to images than they respond to words. Additionally Facebook seems to place a bigger priority on visual content over written content, and your followers are more likely to share awesome looking graphics than they are written messages. The bottom line? Use pictures and graphics as much as you possibly can. If you don’t have a design or photography background, it’s no problem. You can use images licensed under Creative Commons (Flickr and Wikimedia are good sources for these), or you can turn your smartphone snaps into a more compelling graphic with tools like Canva, Photovisi, Over, and others.
2. Share images that reveal who you are as an organization. Your followers already know the polished facade you present to the world — the logos, the official images, the slick website — but they want to know what goes on behind the scenes! Whether it’s a shot of you and some of your team members getting ready for a big event or just a typical day at your office, showing followers something that’s usually more hidden (and more human) can often garner a positive reaction — and that translates to a wider reach.
3. Encourage interaction — lots of interaction. Invite comments on your posts by asking questions or encouraging followers to share a quick anecdote. (If you can do this with a catchy graphic, even better.) The reason is this: what shows up on a follower’s newsfeed is partially a result of previous engagement with that page. If you can get followers liking and commenting on your posts, you’re much more likely to show up in their feeds. Additionally, respond to these comments, as that has also been shown to improve organic reach. This is a true win-win strategy, as it not only boosts your post views, but it also gives you the opportunity to hear directly from your customers.
4. Post content during off-hours. Most business are open from nine to five, or thereabouts, and all of their Facebook posting takes place during those hours. There’s a lot of competition for views during the business day, especially when you factor in the reality that many of your followers are also at work and probably not supposed to be checking social media accounts. Instead, try posting your content early in the morning or late at night, then pay attention to your numbers to determine which posting times seem to work best for you.
5. Post more often. Yes, it can be a lot of work to increase how much you post on Facebook, but consider the numbers: if only half of what you post is making it to your followers’ feeds, you can double your numbers simply by doubling what you post. Work up to it, and again, check your stats to see how many daily posts you need to achieve your desired reach.
Some marketing professionals have become frustrated with the secrecy surrounding Facebook’s algorithm and the fact that their posts don’t always show up in feeds. As a result, they’ve reduced their use of the popular social media site. While this may seem like a noble protest of a wonky system, the truth is that it’s simply not practical. Your customers are on Facebook, and you need to be there too.
Instead of abandoning your Facebook campaign, strengthen it. Instead of becoming exasperated with a lagging reach, be creative, and use the five techniques listed here to work the system. With some effort, a lot of patience, and strategic thinking on your part, you should find your Facebook reach growing slowly but surely.